In the wake of the highly publicized tail-boom failure on a Gulf Airways AW139 last August 25, AgustaWestland has been quietly assuring customers with AW139s on order that it will begin equipping them with a new-design tail boom beginning next month. The boom on the Gulf AW139 failed while the aircraft was taxiing in Doha, Qatar, and there were no injuries.
Aviation International News » March 2010
The EASA issued a new AD for the Eurocopter Super Puma intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing gutter on December 21, calling for correction as described in Eurocopter service bulletins. It also requires reduced inspection intervals.
Bell Helicopter has announced senior staff changes and the integration of its XworX research and development center into its engineering department, at a time when questions persist about the company’s future role in the BA609 civil tiltrotor program and the launch customer for the 429 light twin helicopter seeks to back out of its purchase agreement.
While progress on the PiperJet had slowed, Piper’s acquisition by Brunei-based Imprimis has put the jet-single project “back on track,” according to Piper, “with full development of the PiperJet and other exciting production initiatives.” One of those is Piper’s choice of the Czech Sport Aircraft SportCruiser as the new entry-level Piper trainer.
Erickson Air Crane was called in to drop snow on the Vancouver winter games after a week of rain and unusually warm weather melted the white stuff at some elevations below 4,000 feet. Erickson has been using one of its S-64 Air Cranes to move 13,000-pound loads of snow to cover bare ground at several area ski and snowboard venues, including Cypress Mountain and Mount Black.
The British Government has selected a consortium that includes CHC as the preferred bidder for a 25-year, search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) contract that could be worth as much as $10 billion. CHC, based in Vancouver, B.C., is the world’s largest commercial provider of offshore helicopter services with a fleet of more than 270 aircraft operating in 30 countries.
Eurocopter in January reported unexpectedly good financial numbers for last year. Revenues stood at a record E4.6 billion ($6.44 billion), while the backlog increased by about E1 billion ($1.4 billion), to E15.1 billion ($21.1 billion), representing 1,300 aircraft. However, the manufacturer sees this year as “unpredictable” and expects civil sales will remain low.
Russian Helicopters has begun marketing the Ka-32A11BC coaxial helicopter for more U.S. firefighting work. The helicopter has been used successfully in Chile and Mexico in this role, and one based in Canada was summoned last year to help battle a blaze in Idaho.
The collapse of a Gulf Helicopters AgustaWestland AW139 tailboom while the helicopter was taxiing last year has prompted issuance of an airworthiness directive (2009-SW-50-AD) for a special repetitive inspection every 50 hours time-in-service to check for delamination on the boom’s composite skins. The helicopter with the failed boom had sustained a boom strike some months before the incident.
The Finnish Border Guard has ordered an AgustaWestland AW119Ke for border patrol, special operations and firefighting missions. It will join the agency’s first three AW119Kes, scheduled to enter service during the third quarter. All will operate from Helsinki and Rovaniemi. In Bulgaria, the Ministries of Finance and Interior have ordered two AW109 Powers to provide air surveillance capability on the outer European Union borders.